Week in Review, 5/25 – 5/31

triage x 8b
Another week, another struggle to decide which Triage X screencap to use on my weekly review post.

It was also another quiet week for me anime-wise, due to travel, work, and feeling more inclined to read rather than stare at a computer screen after getting home from work… oh, and I, unfortunately, re-discovered my enjoyment of the Love Live School Idol Festival game. Crap.

Go! Princess Precure, episodes 16-17

The most recent Princess Precure episodes, to include these two, have been trying my patience. I find the show’s obsessive focus on fame and material wealth disconcerting at best, gauche at worst. Minami is not our first rich girl Pretty Cure, nor is Kirara our first child star Pretty Cure, but having two out of our three girls be from quite other than ordinary backgrounds, and be quite other than ordinary themselves, feels off. One of the big points of the magical girl genre is that it features average girls who are granted magical powers, and who, in the post-Sailor Moon world, then become central to the fate of the world. Minami and Kirara are already special – they don’t need to become Pretty Cures to be special. Whereas Haruka presents the fairly straight-up fantasy of being remarkable even though it’s a secret, Kirara and Minami dilute it by being visibly noteworthy even without the magical girl thing thrown into the mix.

Of course, even Haruka must come from some money to be able to attend a fancy place like Noble Academy. Although, I do also suspect there’s some scholarship money or the charity of an elderly, childless relative involved given that Haruka is presented to us much more as being a regular girl from an average family. But the fancy, elite framing of Noble Academy, versus the day schools of varying endowments of previous seasons, stands out as another way in which Princess Precure celebrates wealth and holds it up as being worthy of admiration.

But, yes, well, what else did I expect from a show that involves “princess” in the title? And it is true that this strand has been running through the entire show, but these more recent outings have brought it to the fore in a way the show hadn’t previously. There was the butler who not only fulfills his work duties faithfully but also dreams only of fulfilling his worth duties faithfully in episode fifteen, an idea that feeds into an ideology in which there are the worthy rich, and then the rest of us, a subset of which is made up of people genetically coded to only be happy by being servile. Then there were all the people so enthusiastically babbling about how completely wonderful, amazing, and perfect Minami’s older brother was, paired with several scenes of his luxurious resort and the girls ooh-ing and ah-ing over it.

“But it’s just a kids’ show!” Yeah, I know – and that honestly makes its worship of money and fame all the more troubling. I’m an adult, and as such I’ve developed the sort of critical thinking that lets me suss all these messages out from what seems a harmless mass. Kids absorb the messages that surround them in their lives, including what they see on TV. Here they’re being taught to worship at the altar of material wealth and consumerism. And, yes, Precure in all its incarnations is ultimately a toy commercial, so it inevitably encourages a consumerist worldview. But PriPrecure is going the extra mile that its predecessors haven’t, and I don’t think I’ll be able to stomach it much longer.

Blood Blockade Battlefront, episode 9

Not a great episode. It had its moments, and there was important information in it, but its easily the weakest episode BBB has turned out to date. The mission given to White/Mary at the end of the episode was a letdown, as the fact that she was given it, and the nature of it, has been done to death in other anime, and in all sorts of other media. There was also a lot of words words words with little content from Black/William’s darker half while he hung out at Coney Island with Aligura and Femt, and although I did carefully follow it, I could discern little substance. Perhaps it’ll all become clearer in the future.

It struck me as funny the revelation that White and Black are probably Irish. Wow, Irish folk ending up in the Boston-NYC corridor? Now there’s something that’s true to life! Their father saying they’re like alcohol, black and white, is a reference to Guinness. I’d argue the foam looks more cream-colored than white, but, hey, they’ve been making the stuff for a lot longer than I’ve been alive, so I’ll have to defer to them. ‘Mary’ is a suitable name (thank you for not choosing one of those plastic paddy ones like Erin), granted it’d be more expected were this show set in 1975, but ‘William’? Was ‘Joseph’ going to make it too biblical? Surely ‘Patrick’ would’ve suited just as well. As it is, you’ve got images of the Glorious Revolution dancing in my head!

Triage X, episode 8

Best censorship of the year! Naked pelvic areas rendered as black holes? Absolutely, yes, sign me up!

This episode was yet another in which what is clearly meant to be emotionally weighty cannot be simply since the things which go on develop and climax (hurr hurr) too quickly for them to have much impact. I have no idea if this is solely an issue with the anime, or if this was a problem that the manga had, too. I’ll be able to tell you if the manga more broadly has pacing issues in the near-ish future as I intend to pick up the first volume, though. Ten episodes is just too short.

Sound! Euphonium, episodes 3-8

I’ve already waxed upon this a bit elsewhere, so I won’t get into this too much. I just want to add that… hmm, I’m impressed with the character development? Except I’m not – its quite good, but KyoAni has shown in the past that it can have a very deft hand with characterization, as we particularly saw with Hyouka, although Tamako Market and Free! both managed to develop some (but certainly not all!) of their characters quite skillfully. Surveying the season, Kumiko is my favorite character of the season, despite her show needing a second chance for it to catch on with me.

Vampire Holmes, episode 8

It’s gotten worse! This marked at least the third episode in a row where roughly 90 seconds of the runtime was taken up by a shill for the mobile phone game Vampire Holmes. Even in the episode itself, we got quite a bit of animation recycled from previous episodes – I’ve had plenty of Holmes lounging “sexily” to last me a lifetime. That being said, I sort of… enjoyed this episode. A new character, the demon cat Kira, has been added to the mix, and its mildly amusing the watch him/her (they don’t specify and I don’t think it matters…) being cagey about where she’s been for the rest of the show.

By the way, I’ve written bios for all the characters in Vampire Holmes for My Anime List. I sure hope they get approved! THEY GOT APPROVED!!!!

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